What factors shape the normative structures of digital communication spaces?
What processes and practices lead to the emergence of regulative structures?
Who are the actors and how are they involved in the rule-making processes?
The central conceptual interest of Research Programme 2 is the social order in digital communication spaces. Therefore, the programme addresses questions concerning regulative structures and rule-making processes from a social science and jurisprudential perspective. Social media and other information intermediaries allow and facilitate participation in public communication, whether as web services or apps, and thus, create new forums and practices of social self-understanding. They facilitate “low-threshold” forms of personal or collaborative public spheres, which shift the boundaries between private and public communication. At the same time, phenomena like “hate speech” or interactions with software, such as algorithms or “social bots”, raise questions about the rules that influence this communicative action but should serve as an orientation.
Such digital communication spaces and their rules can be analysed from different perspectives, which are reflected by the basic research questions of the programme: Which normative aspects of digital communication spaces can be distinguished – and what are the resulting regulatory structures with regard to the practices of the actors (structural perspective)? What processes and practices lead to the creation of rules in digital communication spheres, and what are the interactions between rule-making processes within and outside these spheres (process perspective)? Who are the actors – and in which constellations are they involved in the rule-making and the emergence of regulative structures? How is the power structure constituted, and how are responsibility and legitimacy attributed (stakeholder perspective)?
First findings of the programmatic research show that a differentiation of statutory law, contracts, social norms and technical code as normative factors is analytically strong and empirically profitable. They form complex regulation structures that are not consistent, for example, regarding the typical behaviour of users in social media concerning the differentiation between privacy and the public sphere. Building on the dissolution of the four normative factors, Research Programme 2 will also address questions that are relevant for the further development of Internet Governance. This includes questions on how normative structures emerge in such intermediary organisations, which play a key role in the relevant constellation of actors – for example search engines or social network sites.
Why do digital media feed us certain messages and not others? Which technical service providers and algorithms play a role when messages reach us? Which of these functions are socially acceptable and which, on the other hand, constitute manipulation? The project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation a...
How could "platform councils" or other institutions for integrating public interests into platform rule-making processes ensure that public interests and democratic values are taken into account? A new project is embarking on a search for global best practice models.
How do community-based contents on the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia emerge and what procedures are used to negotiate what is regarded as “truth”?
Using the example of user courts from the 2000s of the internet as well as the Wikipedia arbitration court, the Seed Money project investigates how communities on small and niche platforms actively shape the enforcement of rules.
In the run-up to the 2021 federal election, a team from the HBI collected real-time data on how platforms govern online speech, how laws and local standards interact, and how platform practices changed in the shadow of EU regulation in the heated atmosphere of the run-up to the German federal electi...
In the course of fighting the Corona crisis, new digital infrastructures were developed worldwide, which have numerous other components besides tracing apps. How do individual design decisions affect the effectiveness of such an infrastructure, and what influence do legal frameworks have?
TETRIS is a program that aims to enhance researchers’ abilities to measure and increase the impact of their work through a combination of strategic frameworks and hands-on experiences.
In order to study how online platforms decide what can be said online, the Leibniz Institute for Media Research sets up a "Private Ordering Observatory".
The Global Digital Human Rights Network (GDHRNet) will systematically explore the theoretical and practical challenges posed by the online context to the protection of human rights.
How can digital products and platforms be designed to protect individual freedom and promote social cohesion? The project, which is under the patronage of the German Federal President, developed answers to this question that will serve as a knowledge base for political dialogue in the international...
What is the state of the Internet and Germany? Upon a request from the German Commission for UNESCO, the HBI will apply 130 indicators to see how digital policy-making can be improved.
This project aims to gain insights into deletion practices in online communication spaces and creates a taxonomy of deleted postings from the online forums of a large Austrian daily newspaper and a German question-answer portal.
The project investigates various fields of law in the area of conflict between global digital communication and local legal systems.
The social science case study gains access to Facebook's Content Policy Forum for the first time in order to examine how rules for the moderation of content, so-called "community standards", are developed.
This book project, drawn up in the run-up to the Internet Governance Forum organised by Germany in November 2019, clears up misconceptions about the impact and reality of the Internet and explains fact-based, vividly and practically what science knows about Internet-based communication.
The framework project, which is financed from basic funds, bundles research activities of the research programme management in the area of the structural perspective investigation of rule formation in digital communication spaces.
The interdisciplinary basic research project examines the opportunities and limitations of algorithmic decision making systems by using the example of their use in criminal justice systems.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May 2018, gives effect to individual rights to information about using your own data for fully automated ADM systems (algorithmic decision making, in short: ADM) that work without human intervention. However, the individua...
How can information processing be made transparent and controllable again for individuals and institutions by new technologies?
Every app, every website, every search query uses algorithms. In his PhD project, Felix Krupar analyses the legal classification of algorithmic communication.
Nowadays, digital media play a significant role in public participation. What features of software systems influence the actions of users and in what way? And what communicative figurations of providers, developers and users decide on the design of these features?
How can the handling of personal data that emerges due to an increasing online communication be regulated legally in an adequate manner?
The more time people spend online, the more important the code that controls their behaviour on digital platforms will become. This factor especially competes with regulation by law and poses new challenges to it.
Regulation designed primarily for linear media such as traditional scheduled television services has not adequately kept pace with the growth of non-linear media and the Internet. Even though traditional linear media may still be strong and even in the dominant role regarding overall media consumpti...
Age classifications of media content vary from country to country. Moreover, many age classification labels cannot be processed automatically by computers. The EU-co-funded pilot project MIRACLE intends to digitalise all age classification labels so that all labels speak the same language.
Social media is contributing to a change in the structure of the public sphere. It has an effect on how information is distributed or how the private and the public sphere behave to one another. The project, “Social Media and Networked Public Spheres” is uniting numerous publications and...
Together with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet und Society (HIIG), this project has tackled the topic of e-petitions. The object of investigation was the e-petition platform of the German Bundestag.
How are normative structures constructed under the circumstances of increasing mediatisation?
“Code is law”. With this dictum, the internet jurist Lawrence Lessig already in 1999 got to the point of an essential insight: the behaviour of people today, apart from markets, laws, and social conventions is also powerfully regulated by software, “code”. Like walls in a phy...
In his thesis, Lennart Ziebarth examines the criteria to which data is transported via the internet and to what extent network providers should be allowed to intervene in data transport.
To what extent does software influence public participation? Jan-Hinrik Schmidt examines the role of software systems in communicative figurations.
Does the Basic Law contain all elements of an internet freedom in the sense of a basic right to internet access? The PhD project examines this question by measuring the constitutional protection of internet-based communication.
Which norms influence the behaviour of users of social media services, i.e. uploading pictures to Facebook? A German-Israeli research team examines this question in an interdisciplinary project.
Increasing changes in media environments require some rethinking of media regulation and governance. The collaboration project between the Hans-Bredow-Institut and the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) in Brisbane, Australia, looked at this issue.
The initial point for the conference on 4 June 2008 was the proposition that developments in the area of networks and platforms may indeed create new opportunities, but may also prejudice access to content and service quality for users.
The Hans-Bredow-Institut analyses problems of media concentration as well as general constraints on private broadcasting providers according to broadcasting law.
Interdisciplinary European Symposium 16/17 October 2008 in Berlin
On 8 June 2007, the Hans-Bredow-Institut cooperated with the Alcatel Lucent Foundation in organising a conference at Universität Hamburg on new opportunities for the distribution of content and its effect on media and telecommunications law.
What meaning do online services have for the formation of public and individual opinion? And to what extent does a purely commercial offering show deficits concerning constitutional law? The Hans-Bredow-Institut explores these questions in this project.